Just like Islam Makhachev, stripped UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira also had a heart problem in his past. ‘Do Bronx’ even stayed in the hospital for two years.
Charles Oliveira is set to headline UFC 280 on October 23. The Brazilian was stripped off of his lightweight belt after missing weight at UFC 274 back in May. Oliveira defeated Justin Gaethje via first-round submission and will face Islam Makhachev for the vacant belt.
Makhachev gained fans’ attention a while back after news spread about his heart problem. The Dagestani underwent a surgery back in 2016 and even tested positive for PEDs as a result of a heart medication he was prescribed. Luckily, the heart problem won’t affect his performance in the octagon.
Surprisingly, Makhachev’s opponent Charles Oliveira also had a heart problem. This heart problem dates way back when Oliveira was 9 years old. At the time, Oliveira was dreaming of becoming a professional football player.
Oliveira discussed his heart problem during an interview a long time ago. The 32-year-old MMA pro explained how he lost his dream after the doctor told his mother that he may not be able to walk again.
“I was hospitalized for two years and doctors told my mom I couldn’t do sports anymore. I loved soccer at the time, I had no idea what combat sports were, but stayed two years in the hospital. It sucked because I couldn’t leave. My parents had to work so I basically stayed there by myself all morning. It was hard to get used to it.” Oliveira said.
Oliveira’s mother Ozana recalled a hard time when she had to stay in the hospital with her son almost every night. But, Ozana didn’t lose hope.
“When [the doctor] said my son had a condition and he may never walk again, I said I believed that God wouldn’t let that happen. But that was a serious condition in his ankle, he couldn’t move it. But thank God my boss helped me a lot, taking us to Sao Paulo for further exams. I slept on the hospital floor by his bed. I woke up at five in the morning to work and then went back to the hospital. Sometimes I went one month without going home, just going from the hospital to work and back.” Ozana said.
Charles Oliveira was diagnosed with Rheumatic Fever and a Heart Murmur that severely affected his ankle and caused him problems when walking. Oliveira got out of the hospital and his parents supported his decision to continue chasing a dream in sports.
Two months later Oliveira started in Brazilian jiu jitsu and after two months he won a local championship. He kept honing in on his skills and became one of the most dangerous grapplers in the UFC.